What are we going “to butterfly” this year?

Second year of the project Endangered Serbian butterflies has started! And since the aim of the project is to work together, the project has started with a meeting. As  previous year, this meeting was helt at my house in Zaječar, and was there to join old and new members of the our project team. Each member participating in the project during 2018 had a short presentation of the realised activities. It started with presentation of the Civil Society Organisations BDDSP and HabiProt, explaining their role in our joint project.

And since we traditionally forget to take a group photo, and since this is the era of selphies, and since we are hungry…
Дискусија уз презентације

Soon, the focus of the meeting shifted to presentation of our activities during the mapping of target butterfly species. I will quickly remind you that last year we had unsucessfull quest searching for Apollo (Parnassius apollo) on several localities in Eastern Serbia. In similar manner, the search for Danube cloud yellow (Colias myrmidone) was not very succesful, but we managed to record Freyer’s purple emperor (Apatura metis) on several locations and proved that some of the historical records were results of missidintifications. We were more or less lucky with other target species and hope that the search for them will continue during this year. A complete list include:

  • insufficiently studied species – Euphydryas maturna, E. aurinia, Carcharodus orientalis, Melitaea ornata, Pyrgus cinarae, Parnassius apollo, Colias caucasica, Apatura metis;
  • potentially new species for Serbia – Melitaea brithomartis, Muschampia tessellum, Erebia triaria, Erynnis marloyi, Hipparchia sentes, Pseudochazara anthelea, Tarucus balcanicus…;
  • probably extinct taxa from Serbia – Colias myrmidone, Leptidea morsei, Lopinga achine;
  • species that are probably incorrectlly listed for Serbian fauna – Polyommatus escheri, Pseudophilotes bavius.

The most of our attention was dedicated to the activities that will start at the end of April. This is reserved for small ecological study on Southern festoon (Zerynthia polyxena and Eastern festoon (Z. cerisy). The aim of the study is to determine the differences in habitats of these species and to forecast the distribution of Eastern festoon that is currently spreading towards the north. During the last year we collected about 400 observations of these two species in the largest ever made buttefly survey in Serbia. We hope that the weather condition will help us to visit all the remaining locations.

Beside planning further field activities we had a chance to hear some interesting reaults of about activities on Serbian Wikipedia. It turned out thet our Wiki marathon last year opened about a hundreed new articles about butterflies which makes it the largest single day Wiki marathon in Serbia so far (by the article counts). A nice surprice! Beside great success on Wikipedia, we talked about progress of Biologer database. More than 150 users for one year and abour 45 thousand field records talks about the great success of our small local community in Serbia. Beside this, our friends from Croatia have started their own community based on the same software and the number of species included in the database grows month by month. We hope that the open source software and open data will be our future.

Zerynthia polyxena
Excursion to Kraljevica
Nymphalis antiopa
Excursion to Gamzigrad
Nymphalis xanthomelas
Foto-hunting the snake

Beside the meeting and presentations, we had small excursions near Zaječar, recording some interesting butterfly species, such as Nymphalis xanthomelas or Euchloe ausonia. All in all, this was a great chance for people to meet and I hope more of you will join this project during 2019.

Tekst: Miloš Popović, photos: Emanuel Veverica, Slobodan Marković, Vladimir Gligorijević

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